"Friends, family reconvene in Augusta to remember Rosie"
By KELLY SUDZINA, Maysville's Ledger-Independent, July 6, 2002
AUGUSTA Rosemary Clooneys brother and sister-in-law felt it appropriate to celebrate the girl singers life with friends, family and song.
Nick and Nina Clooney were gracious hosts Friday to the crowd mingling about their yard and their Riverside Drive home in Augusta after Rosemary Clooneys funeral.
Inside the home, family and close friends mingled, offering each other sincere sympathy, chatting good-naturedly and browsing the Clooneys collection of memorabilia on display. Rosemarys voice could be heard quietly over the stereo system, singing her favorite tunes.
Outside, Mary Ellen Tanner sang with a live band, both as a tribute to her friend Rosemary as well as to entertain the guests. Tanner said it was an honor to be asked to sing at the reception, but it was difficult as well because both performers drew their music from the Great American Songbook.
Im honored that Nick would ask me. I was on Nicks show in 1970. I met Rosemary later and we became friends, Tanner said. Its difficult when youve got one of the legendary singing stars. ... That first song (Its Wonderful) was really hard.
Nick Clooney called Tanner one of Rosemarys four or five favorite singers, and he said the reception was just the way Rosemary would have liked it.
This is Rosemarys way. Its all hers, he said with a wistful grin.
Nick Clooney carefully held his little dog Spags while greeting his guests. Several times he told the story of the dogs adoption into the family.
Spags was found by Nick and Nina Clooney on an evening Rosemary and husband Dante DiPaolo were to serve them spaghetti, which DiPaolo called spags. They were on their way to have dinner when the dog crossed in front of them, and was welcomed into the family with the name of that often-requested meal.
(Spags) was Rosemarys fa-vorite. She would jump up into Rosemarys lap, Nick Clooney remembered. He said many, including the little dog, gravitated toward the girl singers circle of affection.
Ada Clooney Zeidler said seeing the guests at her fathers Augusta home was comforting for her and the rest of the family.
They say a grief shared is a grief halved. It is comforting to see all the people who loved her, Zeidler said. When we were going from the church to the cemetery in the funeral procession, I saw people coming out of their homes and just standing on the roadside watching. There was one gentleman who was standing with a peace lily.
Adas brother, actor George Clooney, was keeping a low profile during the event.
Im happy to be here, he said, although he declined to talk to any member of the press.
Boats on the river drove slowly past the house, with passengers likely craning their necks for a view, while several local people milled about the lawn hoping to meet someone famous. However, the tone of the reception was respectful and Nina Clooney said she appreciated everyones thoughtfulness.
At one point a soft breeze blew through the hot tent where Nick and Nina Clooney were greeting guests and Nick Clooney looked up, saying, Theres Rosemary.
Its like a star falling out of heaven, said State Rep. Mike Denham with a sad look. Rosemary never forgot her roots.
Maysville Mayor David Cartmell said Fridays events drew to a close a special era for Maysville, and Rosemarys children said they appreciated what her brother and his family were doing to remember her.
Its been a wonderful tribute to her. Its just what shed want the way shed want it, said Rafael Ferrer, her son.